Scandal-embroiled comedian Bill Cosby could probably use all of the concert attendees that he can get these days, but according to a new lawsuit filed by attorney Gloria Allred, would-be audience members were illegally blocked from attending a Cosby performance in May.
The suit, filed in Federal court in Georgia on Wednesday, claims that Allred — who represents a number of women claiming that Cosby sexually assaulted them — was improperly prevented from entering Cosby’s show at the government-operated Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which was being protested.
“When the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre — which is owned and operated by the government — booked Bill Cosby to perform in its theater on May 2, 2015, it knew that Mr. Cosby’s public performance would qualify as protected speech,” the lawsuit reads. “It also knew, or it should have known, that Gloria Allred herself had a First Amendment right to view and listen to that performance.”
Instead, the suit claims, after Allred obtained a ticket to the show and attempted to enter, she was met by two police officers, one of whom told her she was not allowed to enter the show.
“When Allred asked why she could not enter, Officer Stoddard explained that he had a ‘list,’ which was compiled by ‘Outback Productions’ or Bill Cosby representatives, of protesters who should not be allowed to view the Cosby Performance, and that Allred’s name appeared on the list,” the suit reads.
Allred maintains that she wanted to attend the concert “to gain insight that would help me in the representation of many alleged victims of Bill Cosby whom I represented at the time,” and did not intend to disrupt the show.
“In addition to Allred, other people whose name appeared on the County’s ‘security watch list’ were denied entry to the Cosby Performance by the County’s police officers, even though they held valid tickets to attend the performance,” the suit reads.
Allred is suing Cobb County in Georgia, as well as the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority and the Authority’s managing director.
Citing the First and 14th amendments, Allred is asking for unspecified damages, as well as an order prohibiting the Defendants’ “censorship policy on admissions to performances and events in the Centre.”